Between ads in print, TV, online, mobile, and outdoor channels—it is a heavily saturated market out there. Companies are always trying new tactics for the tried and true channels, while others are thinking outside the box for new methods.
In particular, virtual reality – something that used to only exist in sci-fi fantasy – is a growing trend among brands. With the rise of tech gadgets likes Oculus Rift, brands now have a new way to reach people that can really grab attention.
Here’s how some brands are stepping outside of reality to expand marketing.
The Marriott hotel franchise became the first hotel chain to utilize virtual reality in September when it started the #GetTeleported campaign. The chain set up virtual “traveling teleporters” at certain locations that resemble telephone booths and house an Oculus Rift KD2 headset. There’s also an onsuite set of 4-D features like mist, heat, and wind that enhance the experience.
Virtual travelers are taken to Maui, London, and other locations around the globe – all while never leaving the hotel. The campaign was designed as a novelty draw to hotel locations before the technology became mainstream, but more importantly –the hotel chain wanted to create social media buzz. The hotel is encouraging users to share their experience on social sites with the #GetTeleported hashtag. Marriott seems to be in remarketing itself as a leader in travel technology, because not only is it dipping a toe in VR, but is developing travel content for Snapchat.
As part of a larger effort to align its brand with extreme sports like BMX and skateboarding, soft drink brand Mountain Dew is jumping into virtual reality. For its Brooklyn stop on the Dew Tour, the brand set up a station for attendees to try on an Oculus Rift headset.
The virtual reality took tour attendees on a two-minute ride with pro-skateboarder Paul Rodriguez and an all-star “Mtn Dew” skate team. The VR video was Mountain Dew’s first try at virtual reality, but the brand plans to build a library of content for the Oculus Rift device. The idea is to have the content available for all users of the device to use – eventually in the comfort of their own home when the device becomes more mainstream. Mountain Dew hopes to get in on the ground level of a new trend.
At Austin’s world-famous SXSW festival this year, HBO set up an unforgettable virtual reality experience dubbed “Ascend the Wall.” The station – home to popular series Game of Thrones – set up an exhibit that mimicked the elevators that takes characters of the show up the 700-ft ice wall from the show.
Attendees stepped into the elevator-like structures -- equipped with Oculus Rift headsets and 4-D elements like shaking and wind -- and were transported to the wall guarded by the Night’s Watch. The virtual reality experience allowed attendees to scale and look out over the wall from the fantasyland. HBO took the exhibit to other locations globally in Rio de Janeiro, Oslo, Toronto, and Belfast. The goal was to allow fans of the show – known for being quite hardcore – an opportunity to immerse themselves in the world.